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Daily Dose

Allergy Season

1:30 to read

Allergy season is quickly approaching and if your child is known to have seasonal allergic rhinitis (nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy nose and sneezing) during the fall months, it is time to begin the use of their intra-nasal steroids and oral antihistamine on a daily basis.  It is also easy to begin therapy for suspected allergic rhinitis as both nasal steroid sprays and non-sedating antihistamines are available over the counter, and there are many choices as well (liquids, chewables, and pills).

 

Interestingly, I just read an article from a study done in India which looked at Vitamin D levels in children with allergic rhinitis.  It was a small study, only 42 children, between the ages of 5-15 years were followed. The authors looked at nasal symptom scores in children who were maintained on their allergic rhinitis protocol but one group received a Vitamin D supplement as well. 

 

Vitamin D is known to have effects on T and B cells which may link Vitamin D to immune related conditions and allergies. There are many interesting studies involving Vitamin D and the role it plays in our daily lives and there continues to be a lot of controversy on the topic as well. 

 

But, with that being said, in this study children who received Vitamin D supplementation (400-800 IU per day depending on age of the child) not only had higher Vitamin D levels, they also had lower nasal symptom scores. 

 

Of course in the study they looked at Vitamin D levels pre and post treatment. But it would seem to me (being an allergy sufferer myself) that adding a daily dose of Vitamin D to my allergy regimen couldn’t hurt.  

 

There continues to be an increase in allergic disease around the world and at the same time, more and more people are seeking protection from the sun (from which we make cutaneous Vitamin D). Sun protection continues to be a good idea too. Of course, this is only one study, and further research with greater study participants are necessary. But in the meantime, you might discuss adding a dose of Vitamin D to your child’s allergy regimen with your pediatrician. 

 

Daily Dose

Why Vitamin D Is Important For Your Kids

As I am headed to the medicine cabinet to take my evening dose of calcium and vitamin D, I am also multitasking and reading an article in Pediatrics regarding vitamin D levels in children.As I am headed to the medicine cabinet to take my evening dose of calcium and vitamin D, I am also multitasking and reading an article in Pediatrics regarding vitamin D levels in children.

In the last several decades there has been a lot of discussion in the adult literature about osteopenia and osteoporosis as well as the prevention and treatment of these conditions. The latest studies involving vitamin D and calcium metabolism are now appearing in the pediatric literature as newer information about the long-term health effects of vitamin D continues to evolve.  It is certainly a hot topic these days, with more studies to come. The association between low levels of calcium and vitamin D has long been known as a cause of rickets. But rickets was thought to have been a bone disease of years ago (at least that was what I was taught) until recent studies showed that there were indeed still children who were developing rickets. An editorial in Pediatrics stated that the strongest evidence about the effects of vitamin D deficiency was related to the risk of developing rickets. Upon further evaluation it was found that rickets could be prevented and treated by increasing the daily amount of vitamin D a child received and subsequent recommendations were made that all children should receive 400 units of vitamin D daily. It was previously thought to be about half that much. The current study in Pediatrics shows that only one in five children between the ages of one and 11 receive adequate daily vitamin D. In African American and Hispanic children as many as 80 to 90 percent may be vitamin D deficient. Not only is vitamin D important in bone metabolism and heath, other studies have suggested that vitamin D may play a role in preventing infectious diseases, diabetes and even some types of cancer. Some other pediatric studies have shown that teens with low vitamin D levels had higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and also had a greater tendency to be overweight. I am sure there will be continued investigational studies into all of the above. How does all of this fit together? As a child’s diet changes and they no longer receive formula, their daily milk intake may be reduced and in turn their calcium and vitamin D intake is inadequate. In my personal experience and practice I find many children do not “like” milk and are allowed to choose other beverages, such as water, juice and even soft drinks. Although many parents think their children are getting their dietary calcium and vitamin D from other dairy products (yogurt cheeses, fortified juices), it is difficult to do without some daily milk intake. Even two glasses a day needs to be supplemented by other dairy products and many children have no milk. Additionally, vitamin D is made after our skin is exposed to sunlight. Due to the recommendations for routine sunscreen use in children and adults, we may not make as much vitamin D from sun exposure. It is also known that dark skinned children, especially in more northern latitudes are more likely to be vitamin D deficient. At the same time, children do not play outside as often and this too may contribute to obesity and lower vitamin D levels. All of these variables need further study and may be somehow intertwined. While the data continues to be accumulated and additional studies determine age appropriate blood levels of vitamin D, one thing is for sure: daily milk intake and dairy intake is vital to our growing children for a multitude of reasons. It is far easier to remember to pour your child, tween or teen a glass of milk than to remind them to take a vitamin or two every day for the rest of their childhood. I can barely remember to take my own! That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.

Daily Dose

Health Effects of Vitamin D Continue to Evolve

As I am headed to the medicine cabinet to take my evening dose of calcium and vitamin D, I am also multitasking and reading the latest article in Pediatrics regarding vitamin D levels in children.As I am headed to the medicine cabinet to take my evening dose of calcium and vitamin D, I am also multitasking and reading the latest article in Pediatrics regarding vitamin D levels in children.

In the last several decades there has been a lot of discussion in the adult literature about osteopenia and osteoporosis as well as the prevention and treatment of these conditions. The latest studies involving vitamin D and calcium metabolism are now appearing in the pediatric literature as newer information about the long-term health effects of vitamin D continues to evolve.  It is certainly a hot topic these days, with more studies to come. The association between low levels of calcium and vitamin D has long been known as a cause of rickets. But rickets was thought to have been a bone disease of years ago (at least that was what I was taught) until recent studies showed that there were indeed still children who were developing rickets. An editorial in Pediatrics stated that the strongest evidence about the effects of vitamin D deficiency was related to the risk of developing rickets. Upon further evaluation it was found that rickets could be prevented and treated by increasing the daily amount of vitamin D a child received and subsequent recommendations were made that all children should receive 400 units of vitamin D daily. It was previously thought to be about half that much. The current study in Pediatrics shows that only one in five children between the ages of one and 11 receive adequate daily vitamin D. In African American and Hispanic children as many as 80 to 90 percent may be vitamin D deficient. Not only is vitamin D important in bone metabolism and heath, other studies have suggested that vitamin D may play a role in preventing infectious diseases, diabetes and even some types of cancer. Some other pediatric studies have shown that teens with low vitamin D levels had higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and also had a greater tendency to be overweight. I am sure there will be continued investigational studies into all of the above. How does all of this fit together? As a child’s diet changes and they no longer receive formula, their daily milk intake may be reduced and in turn their calcium and vitamin D intake is inadequate. In my personal experience and practice I find many children do not “like” milk and are allowed to choose other beverages, such as water, juice and even soft drinks. Although many parents think their children are getting their dietary calcium and vitamin D from other dairy products (yogurt cheeses, fortified juices), it is difficult to do without some daily milk intake. Even two glasses a day needs to be supplemented by other dairy products and many children have no milk. Additionally, vitamin D is made after our skin is exposed to sunlight. Due to the recommendations for routine sunscreen use in children and adults, we may not make as much vitamin D from sun exposure. It is also known that dark skinned children, especially in more northern latitudes are more likely to be vitamin D deficient. At the same time, children do not play outside as often and this too may contribute to obesity and lower vitamin D levels. All of these variables need further study and may be somehow intertwined. While the data continues to be accumulated and additional studies determine age appropriate blood levels of vitamin D, one thing is for sure: daily milk intake and dairy intake is vital to our growing children for a multitude of reasons. It is far easier to remember to pour your child, tween or teen a glass of milk than to remind them to take a vitamin or two every day for the rest of their childhood. I can barely remember to take my own! That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.

Your Child

Vitamin Deficiencies Linked to Kid’s Migraines

1:30

Those that have migraines say the pain is like nothing else - an intense throbbing or pulsing sensation in the head that can bring you to your knees.

The reason people get migraines is still a mystery, but a new study says scientists and doctors may want to add vitamin deficiency as a possible cause.

The study, presented at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society, suggests that doctors treating patients with migraines may want to screen for vitamin D, riboflavin (B-2) and coenzyme Q10 deficiencies.

For the study, researchers at Cincinnati Children’s looked at existing data on 7,691 young patients who were migraine sufferers and their records of blood tests for baseline levels of vitamin D, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10 and folate. Of the study participants, 15 percent were found to have riboflavin levels below the standard reference range. A significant number of patients—30 percent—had coenzyme Q10 levels at the low end of the standard reference range. Significantly lower vitamin D was seen in nearly 70 percent of the patients.

The researchers also found that patients with chronic migraines were more likely to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies than patients who had episodic migraines. Girls and young women were more likely than boys and young men to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies at baseline. Boys and young men were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency, but the reasons behind these trends need further investigation.

Hershey says the study adds to an ongoing observation that a significant number of people with migraines have lower levels of these vitamins. However, this trend is not seen in all patients across the board.

Scientists have looked at the link between vitamin deficiencies and migraines before, but research has been inconsistent. This study shows an association, but does not prove that vitamin deficiencies cause migraines.

In general, taking these vitamin supplements at recommended doses probably can’t hurt, but much more research is needed to determine whether vitamins alone could help stop migraines. One challenge researchers face is that vitamin supplements are often an intervention used in addition to medications and other experimental therapies. It’s therefore difficult to determine whether improvements in the condition can be explained for reasons other than supplement use.

If your child suffers from migraines, you may want to ask your doctor to screen him or her for vitamin D, Coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin levels. You can then discuss adding supplements if the results show your child is deficient in any of these vitamins.

Story source: Jessica Firger, http://www.newsweek.com/vitamin-deficiency-causes-chronic-migraines-469227

 

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